Jongleberry

Two months with two LG 27UL850-W monitors and a Apple Mac mini M1

I bought two LG UltraFine 5K monitors when they were first released at a 25% discount, which has been one of my most regrettable purchases. The initial versions of these monitors didn’t have enough shielding and would constantly flicker. I got them fixed through warranty, but after over 3 years, they began to flicker again, so I decided it was time to sell them and buy new monitors. I am sure new versions of these monitors do not have this problem.

The requirements I had for a new monitor were:

  • Ability to work with non-MacOS computers as I want to be able to use these for a PC in the future. The LG UltraFine monitors only support MacOS.
  • <= 27" - 30"+ monitors are way too big for me
  • 16:9 or 16:10 ratio - I hate ultra-wide monitors
  • Flat monitor - curved monitors are dumb
  • 4K+ resolution
  • HDR colors
  • Thunderbolt 3 + charging
  • AMD FreeSync and/or nVidia G-Sync
  • Less than $500

Thus, I settled for the LG 27UL850-W.

Gaslit by Customer Support

The first time I purchased this monitor, I ran into a particular issue - a USB hub would show up mounted on my Mac and get improperly ejected every time my Mac went to sleep. This was utterly annoying.

I asked customer support, but they said, “this USB hub is not from the monitor”, even though the monitor was the only thing plugged into my Mac and it would only show up if my monitor was plugged in. I gave up and simply returned the monitors (thank god for Amazon’s easy return policy).

Buying Them Again a Year Later

I masochistically stuck with my LG UltraFines for a year, but they continuously deteriorated and flickered more and more often. After working from home for over a year, this began to affect my work, so I started looking for monitors again. Finally, my friend mentioned that he bought this monitor and was happy with it. I mentioned to him my issue from buying it before, but then he found my post, which I don’t remember making, finally being answered. Seems like my issue was fixed and this monitor was still the best on the market, so I bought them again.

Unfortunately, it looks like the LG forums were removed, otherwise I would share a link to the post.

First Impressions

When I plugged my monitors in, the first thing I noticed was that everything was gigantic. Switching from a 5K to a 4K monitor reduces pixel density quite a bit. This isn’t a big deal for me though since I constantly zoom in and out with most of my applications.

Color-wise, the monitor was fine. The speakers are terrible, though I’d prefer not to have speakers at all on my monitor. You get what you pay for.

I Miss MacOS Integrations

The speaker buttons as well as the monitor brightness buttons on your Mac don’t work on these monitors. I’m not sure why this is the case - after all, this should just be software and other LG products support it. Nevertheless, it’s a little annoying to manually press buttons on the monitor to change the volume and brightness, but this isn’t a deal breaker for me.

USB Hub Disconnects

I connected an external USB drive to my monitor, but I noticed that every time my Mac went to sleep, my hard drive would get ejected. This was a little annoying, but I simply plugged my hard drive directly to my Mac. If I had more than a few USB devices, I would have to buy a separate USB hub.

Also, see this post: https://stanislas.blog/2020/02/lg-27ul850-broken-usb-c/

Conclusion

This monitor has been fine for me, but there are a few quirks that I find annoying. However, given its specifications and price point, I doubt there’s anything better.